Are Supervisors Allowed to Yell?

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Are Supervisors Allowed to Yell?

Work can be stressful at times. Projects may be piling up or sales goals aren’t being met. Depending on the leadership in your organization, you may come across a supervisor or manager who tends to communicate in a more aggressive fashion, by yelling. A supervisor’s tendency to yell at employees may seem like it is the “wrong” way to manage people. But is it?


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5 Things Every Supervisor Should Know About Negotiating

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5 Things Every Supervisor Should Know About Negotiating

Negotiation is simply an exchange of information aimed at reaching an agreement. However, supervisors need to be conscientious when it comes to negotiating with their employees.

During negotiations, it is critical for any supervisor or manager to be able to communicate clearly, concisely, and persuasively, use probing skills to uncover interests, needs, and information, to invent solutions, and to actively listen to ensure understanding, information gathering, and to build relationships.
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7 Rising Trends in Employee Training and Development in 2016

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2016 Training Trends

“The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is not training them and keeping them.” This Zig Ziglar quote is one many businesses can relate to. The cost of NOT training employees can be substantial to a business. However, when it comes to training employees, it is beneficial to be up-to-date on the ever-evolving trends. In Josh Bersin’s Forbes article, “The Learning Curve Is The Earning Curve,” he points out that “learning is part of economic survival for most of us” and if businesses don’t make an effort to continuously re-skill employees, they will fall behind.
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The 10 Crucial Skills for Supervisors to Have

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The 10 Crucial Skills for Supervisors to Have

Supervising and managing a group of employees who all have different personalities, skill sets and who may or may not interact well with each other is no easy task. New supervisors are no longer solely responsible for their own results and performance. Instead, they must now facilitate results and success through their employees. One of a supervisor’s main roles is to establish goals and lead a team of people to achieve them.

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Does Your Organization Do This When it's Faced With Change?

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Does Your Organization Do This When it's Faced With Change?

Change is inevitable. But it’s how you lead and manage change that makes the difference. Companies that accept and embrace change are healthier, more dynamic, and faster growing than those companies that fear change.

Tom Ault, Director of Technical Training at ERC and Senior Consultant, talks about leading and managing change.

Stop, challenge & choose

When faced with change, we typically put our own negative spin on it, often without knowing all the facts. Our natural tendency is to see change as a threat—our brains are hardwired to be risk averse—rather than seeing the positives.

There are three simple commands that we teach people to consciously think about when dealing with a perceived negative like change.

  1. Stop: When change first occurs, do not automatically turn to a negative response. Instead, stop, and don’t act or decide anything. Mentally disconnect and take a deep breath. Try to center yourself and observe the change that is happening.
  2. Challenge: Now that you had a moment to process instead of react, challenge yourself to find positives in the situation. Ask yourself “What am I telling myself? What evidence do I have that supports or contradicts my interpretation, and what are other possible interpretations?
  3. Choose: Once you have challenged yourself to find the silver lining in the change, ask yourself “What would have been my ideal response?” And “What interpretation would help me produce my ideal response?” Once you choose it, make sure to use it!

Three levels of change

Change in organizations happen at three levels: How you manage yourself, how you relate to others, and how to lead across the organization.

  1. It starts with yourself since it is difficult to lead others through change if you are not committed.
  1. Next is leading others. You have to be able to go by these rules:
  • I can be a role model and encourage people that work in my team on how best to react to change.
  • I have to be sensitive to their reactions and feelings to help them manage through it.
  • Not everyone will react the same way and have the same feelings.

    It is important to get those feelings out in the open; so it's best to address them.
  1. And last, leading across organizations requires understanding that change is an individual choice and needs to happen one person at a time. Communication in various forms and on a regular basis is important if you want people to buy in. There must also be a feedback loop where you actively solicit concerns and roadblocks to change so they can be addressed.

So ask yourself these questions when dealing with these levels of change:

Self

Others

Organizationally

  • How do I deal with change?
  • What messages am I sending?
  • What is my level of involvement?
  • What is the appropriate level of involvement?
  • What help will/do others need?
  • How do I impact others thinking to gain commitment?
  • What am I doing to communicate and encourage debate?
  • Am I engaging others and escalating concerns?
  • How do I lead change across an organization?
  • What methodology can I use to ensure success?
  • How do I ensure feedback loops?
  • How do I ensure resistance is managed?
  • How do I influence all levels in the organization?

Every person within an organization has a roll when it comes to organizational change. In order to have effective change, there must be involvement and action displayed by many within the organization.

Leading and Managing Change

The image above helps to visualize that change occurs along two main paths:  a project management path that focuses on the system or process changes, and a change management path that focuses on the people side of the change.  Many organizations focus on the project path and are then surprised when there is no buy-in from their people.

Organizations that assign these roles and responsibilities to a change initiative will find better success:

Change Management

This group can be made up of one or more change agents who monitor the people side of change by checking for resistance and ensuring the other roles are in alignment and are focused on their roles.

Senior Leader

This group is the top contributor to the overall project success according to Prosci, Inc. benchmarking studies. Senior leaders are one of two preferred senders of messages about change.

The role of this group is to participate actively and visibly throughout the project. They build the needed coalition of sponsorship with peers and other managers. They also communicate the business message about effective change with employees.

Managers & Supervisors

Managers and supervisors are the other preferred sender of messages about change. This group has a unique and well-developed relationship with the employees being impacted by the change.

But what is this group’s role? They communicate the personal messages about the change with their direct reports, conduct group and individual coaching sessions and identify, analyze and manage resistance. They also provide feedback to the appropriate levels in the organization.

Employees

This group makes changes to how they do their day-to-day work. Their acceptance and use of the solution determines the success of the project and the ongoing benefit derived from the change.

This group’s role is to seek out information related to the business reasons for change and the personal impact of the change. They provide feedback and reaction to the change and the change management efforts. A key role is for this group to be proactive when dealing with change, rather than being “victims” of a change.

Project Team

This group designs and develops the ‘change’—they are the ones who introduce new processes, systems, tools, job roles and responsibilities. They also provide much of the specific information about the change to the other stakeholders.

This group’s role is to provide timely, accurate and succinct information about the change (or project). They also integrate change management activities into project management plans and activities.

Why do people resist change?

Managers and employees resist change for different reasons.  Managers may fear losing control and authority, comfort with the status quo, have no involvement in solution design, or have an answer for what’s in it for them.

Employees resist change due to lack of awareness, fear of the unknown, lack of job security and sponsorship.

Whatever the reason for resistance, change is inevitable. It’s how you deal with it yourself, with others and with your organization that will depend on if your company will spiral out of control or grow and conquer.

Change Management Training Course

Change Management Training Course

In ERC's Change Management training, participants will learn strategies for helping themselves, as well as others, through change. They will acquire the confidence and skills needed to face change.

Learn More about Change Management

Span of Control: How Many Employees Should Your Supervisors Manage?

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Span of Control How Many Employees Should Your Supervisors Manage supervising employees effectively ideal span of control

How many employees do your supervisors manage? Has your organization considered the effects of what narrow or wide supervisory and managerial spans of control mean for your employees and the levels of support and empowerment they receive on-the-job?

Have you considered how your decisions regarding the number of levels of reporting in your organization and given to your supervisors and managers influence job satisfaction, communication practices, and your overall organizational culture? The structure of your organization matters for these reasons and more.

Defining span of control

Span of control refers to the number of subordinates that can be managed effectively and efficiently by supervisors or managers in an organization. Typically, it is either narrow or wide resulting in a flatter or more hierarchical organizational structure. Each type has its inherent advantages and disadvantages.

Narrow Span

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Have more levels of reporting in the organization, resulting in a more heirarchical organization
  • Supervisors can spend time with employees and supervise them more closely
  • Creates more development, growth, and advancement opportunities
  • More expensive (high cost of management staff, office, etc.)
  • More supervisory involvement in work could lead to less empowerment and delegation and more micromanagement
  • Tends to result in communication difficulties and excessive distance between the top and bottom levels in the organization

Wide Span

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Have fewer levels of reporting in the organization, resulting in a more flexible, flatter organization
  • Ideal for supervisors mainly responsible for answering questions and helping to solve employees problems
  • Encourages empowerment of employees by giving more responsibility, delegation and decision-making power to them
  • Tends to result in greater communication efficiencies and frequent exposure to the top level of the organization
  • May lead to overloaded supervisors if employees require much task direction, support, and supervision
  • May not provide adequate support to employees leading to decreased morale or job satisfaction

Optimal span of control

Three or four levels of reporting typically are sufficient for most organizations, while four to five are generally sufficient for all organizations but the largest organizations (Hattrup, 1993). This is consistent with ERC’s survey findings as well. Ideally in an organization, according to modern organizational experts is approximately 15 to 20 subordinates per supervisor or manager. However, some experts with a more traditional focus believe that 5-6 subordinates per supervisor or manager is ideal. In general, however, optimum span of control depends on various factors including:

  • Organization size: The size of an organization is a great influencer. Larger organizations tend to have wider spans of control than smaller organizations.
  • Nature of an organization: The culture of an organization can influence; a more relaxed, flexible culture is consistent with wider; while a hierarchical culture is consistent with narrow. It is important to consider the current and desired culture of the organization when determining.
  • Nature of job: Routine and low complexity jobs/tasks require less supervision than jobs that are inherently complicated, loosely defined and require frequent decision making. Consider wider for jobs requiring less supervision and narrower for more complex and vague jobs.
  • Skills and competencies of manager: More experienced supervisors or managers can generally be wider than less experienced supervisors. It’s best to also consider to what degree supervisors and managers are responsible for technical aspects of the job (non-managerial duties).
  • Employees skills and abilities: Less experienced employees require more training, direction, and delegation (closer supervision, narrow); whereas more experienced employees requires less training, direction, and delegation (less supervision, wider).
  • Type of interaction between supervisors and employees: More frequent interaction/supervision is characteristic of a narrower.  Less interaction, such as supervisors primarily just answering questions and helping solve employee problems, is characteristic of a wider. The type of interaction you want your supervisors and managers to engage in with their employees should be consistent with the control they are given.

In addition, special consideration should be given to the direct reports of executive and senior management levels. Typically, the number of direct reports for these individuals are lower than supervisors and managers as too many direct reports at these levels can complicate communication and lengthen response time for crucial decisions.  

Sources:

  • Bell, R. R. & McLaughlin, F. S. (1977). Span of control in organizations. Industrial Management.
  • Davison, B. (2003). Management span of control: how wide is too wide? Journal of Business Strategy.
  • Gupta, A. (2010). Organization’s size and span of control. Practical Management: Transforming Theories into Practice.
  • Hattrup, G. P. (1993). How to establish the proper span of control for managers. Industrial Management.
  • Juneja, H. Span of control in an organization.

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Conflict Resolution Tips Every Manager Should Know

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Conflict Resolution Tips Every Manager Should Know conflict resolution manager

Working in any organization means working with people that have a variety of opinions, perspectives, and/or work styles. And while organizations who foster such diversity are the strongest type of organizations, it doesn’t always mean everyone will get along 100% of the time.

Managers need to be able to recognize when problems are brewing and feel comfortable and equipped to work with staff members in resolving these issues.

We spoke with Jackie Mueckenheim, Senior Trainer with ERC’s Learning and Development Team, about why it’s important for managers to understand how to resolve problems that occur in the workplace, what are some common problems, and four conflict resolution skills that every manager should know.
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Leader Development: A Growing Concern and Priority for Employers

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Leader Development: A Growing Concern and Priority for Employers

Leadership development is among employer's top priorities and concerns in the workplace today. A 2013 survey conducted by The Conference Board and Right Management concluded that organizations are expected to spend 37% more on leadership development in 2014.

Many employers are concerned over a potential lack of talent to fill future leadership roles, and are putting practices in place such as succession planning and leadership development programs targeted toward young people, high-potentials, and emerging leaders to address those future gaps.

Below is a quick summary of two key areas in which the approach to creating leadership development programs is evolving.
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